Parrys cutting electric costs as rates increase
HARTLY, Del. — In October 2018, Delaware’s commercial electricity rates increased an average of 3.2 percent from the October 2017 rate.
This increase has Delaware businesses across industries looking for ways to reduce overhead — especially in agriculture.
For poultry farmers, electricity is a significant expense.
Thousands of dollars each month are spent on lighting, ventilation, heating, cooling, and automated equipment.
“As you can imagine, our electric bills are rather costly, especially during the summer months,” says Katharine Parry, part owner of the Parry Poultry Farm, an 80-acre farm raising organic chickens.
With electricity rates on the rise, the Parrys were looking for a way to offset these high energy costs and turned to solar energy.
“We were initially attracted to the cost savings associated with solar panels,” Parry says.
Partnering with Paradise Energy Solutions, the Parrys installed their 832-panel (274.56 kilowatts) solar system.
In just the first year, the system will save them $41,398 in electricity costs by producing 342,132 kilowatts of electricity.
In less than six years, the system will have contributed enough electricity savings to pay for itself, leaving years’ worth of saved energy expenses.
While solar is an option to reduce energy expenses, the upfront cost associated can be a deterrent.
However, the 30 percent federal tax credit and tax savings on depreciation covered 61.2 percent of installation costs, according to Paradise Energy Solutions.
The Parrys also participated in the Delaware Sustainable Energy Program, which allowed them to borrow the funds needed to install the project at an attractive interest rate.
Paradise Energy Solutions worked with the Parrys to design a ground-mounted system.
The several arrays — suspended a few feet above the ground — provide a cool place during warmer months for chickens in their pasture areas, increasing the amount of time the birds can graze.
“We raise organic chickens and have fenced pasture areas that the birds can graze in when the temperatures allow,” Parry says. “This system has not only reduced our carbon footprint, but doubles as shade to the birds from the sun.”
In the first year alone, the solar system will have offset 266 tons of carbon dixide 6,193 trees, and 561 barrels of oil.
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